Friday, 30 October 2015

When an Actor Dies, so Does his Character

Here it is, October, 2015. Last night I watched an episode of the television show Rizzoli and Isles where one of their squad had died and they suffer the loss of one of their own.

This was not the case of a character being ‘killed off’, as often happens given story lines or actors who want to move on from a certain role. The actor, in this role, died suddenly. This is shocking, and affects the actors in the show both personally and professionally.


I’m sure many of you remember when John Ritter died so suddenly in 2003,while starring in his hit television sitcom. It changed everything about that show, as he was in the pivotal role.

Ralph Waite
Strangely enough, Sasha Alexander, who plays the part of Maura Isles, was once a character on NCIS named Kate Todd She was killed by a terrorist wanting to cause Gibbs pain and torment by killing his team of investigators. I remember the episode as I had not heard any chatter that this character was being written out, and the death was shocking with the surprise.

They also suffered a real loss on that show, when Ralph Waite, the actor, died. He played Gibbs father in a recurring role. I liked that they waited until the final show that season to say goodbye and ended with his funeral. It was tastefully done, and was a fitting goodbye, to the man many of us remember as being the father from Walton’s Mountain.

Back to Rizzoli and Isles. It is very sad that the 29 year old actor, Lee Thompson Young, committed suicide in August 2013. He played Detective Barry Frost in this very successful television drama.

As the show airs on TNT, what I watch is always a year out of date. So Season 4 ended with his character off on vacation, and his character was not dealt with until the first 2 episodes of Season 5. It gets very confusing as a new 6th season aired on TNT in June and the come-from-behind 5th season on regular television this fall. And then there are all the episodes in syndication.

I have found it disconcerting to watch episodes with this young actor, knowing he is no longer with us, and knowing he hid his troubles and felt so despondent that he ended his own life.

His character, while off on vacation, was fatally killed in a car accident. The episode I just watched showed the squad reeling from the loss, and planning his funeral. I was getting some of the dates and such from various web sites and read some comments on this show. There was some discussion that the by having the character die in this manner, the show lost an opportunity to deal with the issue of suicide.

That may be correct, but as the show was airing after a time lag, it would have lost some of the impact. If they wanted to address the pain of suicide, it might better be done with a different story line, and not one of the regular cast.

The grief the actors portrayed would have been real, and I can’t imagine the strength it required to 'act out' their loss. For myself, I’m glad it’s now out in the open, so to speak. I hated watching each episode, waiting to see when it would be written it and over.

But it will never be over. Suicide leaves the survivors with too many questions, never to be answered, and a lifetime of guilt and regret.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

An Autumn Storm

I went to bed early last night, the news warning of a storm to hit this morning. I was lazy, stayed in bed late, still tired, but content to lie and listen to the rain.

When I heard the creak of my mailbox, which meant I had mail, I left the warmth of my bed, dressed and checked to see what was happening with the world.

The rain had let off, for the moment, but the wind had not. The sound of it was like the roar of a train, the trees moving, not in any gentle sway, but more as if in battle. I picked up my mail, another bill, and felt concern for my friend who is also my mailperson. She’s tough, and as fit as can be, but I’m glad it’s not me walking house to house in this weather.

As I write this I can hear the storm pick up, the rain beating down, and the skies so grey it feels like twilight rather than middle of the morning.

As much as I love fall, I dread the change of this season, because winter has no choice but to follow.

When I was in the store the other day I saw these cleat things that strap on your shoes, to give you traction on the ice and snow, and had a sense of dread.

This year I’m going to weather the weather better. I’m going to give myself a project, once the holiday season is over, and keep myself busy and productive. It’s a plus for me that I have many creative pursuits so I never feel bored, it’s more that I don’t have enough time for all that I want to do.

If someone picks me up for grocery shopping and the occasional trip to Walmart, I’ll make it through the winter. Today it feels closer, like those beautiful fall days are over and November will be a test of the months to come.

But then I read a blurb that stated this winter might be the warmest in the last 18 years.

My mind works in a strange way, words of an old Girl Guide song came to mind as I was about to write about the unpredictability of the weather. I’ll leave you with the first verse. (None of that second verse, same as the first stuff. Boy, my mind is back at camp, but it makes me laugh on a rainy day.)

As we trek along together,
As we trek along,
Let us sing this song together,
Let us sing this song.
Love, life, laughter, sorrow
Who knows what comes tomorrow,
Who knows and who cares,

As we trek along.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Car Window Decals

 Decals for the back windows of cars have become a popular thing, not my thing, but to each their own. They can be kind of amusing. When I find myself behind a decorated car, I always look to see what makes up that particular family. There’s usually a Mom and Dad, and an assortment of kids in various genders and ages, plus the family pets.

Some people obviously find these stickers annoying, but this is going too far.

Some decals are very funny, and if I were to get one, this would be it.

But the one I love the most, and that is both heartwarming and very honest, is the following.

You see and hear a lot about Rescue Animals, and if I could, I’d rescue one myself. My brother was a Cat Socializer at the Humane Society, and became a Cat Rescuer when he took Vinny home to his forever home.

It was a good thing, for everyone concerned.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Rumor About Goodwill

There was a posting on Facebook last week warning people about the charities they might be donating to. It listed about five of these so-called charities, and gave the annual income of their CEOs. Some of these people make an incredible salary, for what are supposed to be non-profit organizations.

The problem with social media is that anyone can write something up and post it. We read it and believe the information to be true. I was curious about this list of charities. I collected for Unicef as a child, as did my children. Another one, the March of Dimes is well known. The United Way is big in my community with numerous fund raisers throughout the year.

What caught my eye on the list was Goodwill. That organization has been around for a long time. The post on Facebook stated it was privately owned by a Mark Curran, and he makes something like 2.5 billion dollars a year by selling donated items and paying his employees less than minimum wage.

I knew that could not be correct, that Goodwill could not possibly be run as a for-profit business. So I did some research. There were many references to this posting, including one that said Mark Curran is the Sheriff of Lake County, Illinois and has no association with Goodwill.

Goodwill Industries Int. Inc. is an American non-profit 501 organization that provides job training, employment placement services and other community based programs for people with disabilities. It was founded in 1902, by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and an early social innovator.

Rev. Helms implemented the idea of collecting used household goods and clothing from wealthier area, then trained and hired those who were poor or disabled to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold.

The system worked and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out’ was born. Yes, the organization is worth billions, but it is a non-profit charitable organization. Their mission remains creating jobs, providing work opportunities and training for people, helping them to realize their potential.

There are 165 community based agencies in the U.S. and Canada, with affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill channels 82% of its revenue directly into its programs and services.

I don’t know where this kind of disinformation comes from, or why someone would wish to spread such lies. Is the purpose to create unrest among the population, to make us doubt those agencies that do good work?

It makes me reluctant to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ anything I see unless I knew it to be true. Rumors can be a hurtful thing whether they are spread about one person, a group or, in this case, an organization.

And so ends today’s lecture.

An Eye Catching Memory

After my Dad died, before she moved to Florida, my Mom and I spent a lot of time together. Something that happened to me last night reminded me of one of those times.

We were watching the Grey Cup, for sentimental reasons, on my part. It’s not that she wasn’t also sentimental about it, but she might actually have liked the game, I did not.

The sentiment comes in because my father played in a number of Grey Cup finals, winning at least one, as a member of the Toronto Argonauts Football Team.

That day, we watched a good portion of the game on the television in the ER waiting room.

My Mom had beautiful hands, and most often had long nails, polished in red. That day she had scratched at her eye, and unwittingly scratched the eyeball, causing some bleeding in the white part of the eye.

We only knew it happened when she turned to me and I saw this scary red eyeball. Concerned she might have scratched the cornea, we went to the ER. I remember she had drops and an eye patch for a few days after.

This morning I was up, in and out of the bathroom without turning on the light, or looking in the mirror. I got the garbage out, fiddled around and worked on the painting that is my current project.

When I went to the bathroom, still without turning the light on, (I live alone and leave the light off as I leave the door open), I did a quick glance in the mirror and saw this dark spot on my face. I assumed it was paint. On closer look, I saw my left eye was puffy, and the underside purple, like a black eye. What the hell?

I vaguely remember my eye bothering me last night, when I was in bed, reading, and I must have rubbed it, harder than I thought. My eye still feels funny, so I may have to have it checked if it’s not better tomorrow. But I enjoyed the memory of my Mom, and miss her as much as ever.

Maybe I’ll watch the Grey Cup this year, just being sentimental, you know. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Too Funny

This is just too funny not to share.

My daughter and I were sitting in my car, and somehow, not sure why because I don’t follow this kind of thing, were indulging in a moment of celebrity gossip. The topic was Lamar Odom, and his unfortunate bad luck to collapse, and let’s be honest here, in a whore house.

We hear a voice from the back seat...oops...forgot younger ears were in the vicinity. She had obviously been listening, and had a question. “Was it at the Fantasy Farm?”

“What?” her mother returned. She was wondering what her daughter knew about the ‘ranch’ where the Odom incident occurred.

“Was it at the Fantasy Farm?”

“What?” we asked again. We were still in a bit of shock, denial?

“The Horror House. Was it at the Fantasy Farm?” the kid repeated, her brow furrowed, wondering at the sanity of this older generation.

“Oh, horror,” we laughed. “No, it was at a different one, someplace else, not at the Fantasy Farm.”

Saved once again.

Friday, 16 October 2015

October Art

I’ve been in this art mood for awhile now, and want to do a large canvas, want to try something...big...and loose...and sort of free.

So I invested in two larger canvases and have been staring at them for days. I might be better going back to oils, as acrylics dry so fast. A plus in many ways, but a negative when trying to blend colors on the canvas.

I am an abstract painter, more into mixed media. This means I use paint, acrylics again, with paper, stencils, photos and whatever strikes the mood. Not a lot of drawing, and nothing realistic. I tend to textures and a variety of paper. This works perfect for the medium size canvases I use, but I wanted to try something different.

You’d think, being an abstract artist that my work would be free, in the moment, and in a way it is. What I wanted to do was some large, swing that paintbrush, slap on the paint, wild kind of thing. But I think it’s just not me.

I tried the recipe for homemade Gesso, and applied it to the larger of the new canvases, but that’s was as far as I’d progressed...until last night.

I find the gesso gives the canvas a rough feel, not really textured, but enough of a coating that it grabbed the paint, and I had very little slip and slide. I usually start by covering most of the canvas in paper, and when using matte medium, the paint moves around differently. So far, I’m not impressed, with me, not the gesso.

Thought I’d share my efforts for the last month, until I get to the really big one.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

When Artists Meet

Whenever I’m in the dollar store, I feel compelled to check out the craft section, not that I’m in need of anything, but because you never know what you might find.

As I walked down the aisle, I saw a young boy, about seven or eight years old, sorting through the stack of artist canvases. Not something you’d expect, not when there’s another aisle dedicated to toys.

“Are you doing some painting,” I asked.

He picked up a 16x20 inch canvas and tucked it under his arm. “I’m doing a painting for Halloween,” he informed me. “I’ve done eight already.”

“What kind of paint are you using?” I asked.

He stepped to the side and pointed to the paint displayed on the wall, to the paint that came in tubes, in a multipack. His preferred choice, though he indicated that he had used some of the others available. He showed me what brushes were best, went on to indicate the plastic palette and told me how it was used.

His mother came and he quickly picked up a couple more canvases, and they moved on.

I have to say, it made my day. I enjoyed those few minutes of art talk as much as I have an adult conversation in Curry’s Art Store. This special little boy was so serious about his art work, and so willing to talk with another artist about his choice of supplies.

I wish I could see his work, and commend his mother for nurturing his interest and for supporting his drive, at such a young age, to create.

For him, I feel it’s just the beginning.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Envy or Jealousy?

I started to write a blog about my brother and his wife’s anniversary. They celebrated by taking a weekend away, touring the area, taking in new sights and new experiences. On their roundabout way home they visited a few of my favorite places, and did a Studio Tour.

What better way to spend a fall day, I thought. I was envious, and as I had that thought my mind went off on a different it so often does...and I got caught up in words and their meanings.

I wrote jealous initially, and crossed it out (writing longhand), changed it to envious. Jealousy always seems to have a bit of mean attached to it, in my mind, where envy is...sadder?

Was I envious, or was I jealous? Time for some research, to learn and understand the meaning of these words.

ENVY denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another.

JEALOUSY denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one feels they more rightfully deserve.

But then I found a different explanation, that stated both envy and jealousy make you feel inadequate.

Envy is when you want what someone else has and jealousy is being worried that someone is trying to take what you want away from you.

The article went on to say envy requires two parties. For example, you might envy your neighbour their bright and shiny new car. You wish it was your car and you driving around in it.

Jealousy requires three parties. Take that same neighbour with the new car. You not only wish you had it, but worry your husband is going to ride off in that new car, with the neighbour.

Interesting, in books, jealousy is often represented by the lover’s triangle.

I’m not jealous. I might feel some envy, wish I had my brother’s kind of loving and long term relationship, but life is what it is. For better or worse (not to make fun of those wedding vows) things happen, some we can control, some we can’t, and the test is how we respond to make the best of it.

Happy Anniversary guys, you deserve every moment of happiness.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Three Kids in a Car

I drive a van. (Don’t ask me why because it’s a long convoluted story and does not give a good representation of my mental health and good decision making. It was an emotional decision, made at a bad time in my life. Enough said). But I digress.

My son borrowed my van, otherwise known as Velma, to take his family for a weekend away. He has three kids, and as the van has quad seats and a full third row bench, it was more comfortable for a trip requiring hours in the car.

The kids would have had their iPods, their tablets and such to keep them occupied. It made me think back to those 7 hour trips we made as kids to see the grandparents in Ohio.

The only car I remember was a station wagon. I’m old, so that would have been before the law requiring seat belts. I recollect early morning starts where sleepy kids were allowed to sleep part of the way, in a make-shift bed in the back of the station wagon.

But what did we do to entertain ourselves for all those hours? How many times did we ask, “Are we there, yet?”

My daughter has a newer van, with a built in DVD player and multiple charging sites for all those gadgets. All this is the norm for this younger generation.

One day, as I was walking to my van with my grandson, he rushed ahead and pulled on the door, found it locked and looked to me to open it. “Hold on,” I said. “You need a key, and you’ll have to wait until I get there.” He looked surprised and I showed him the key, a real key, not an electronic thing. I explained the van was old, like me, and didn’t have keyless entry.

No electronic locks, no DVD, and no charging port. What a relic. A dinosaur.

I went through the same thing with my granddaughter when she looked for a charging cord for her phone. In her mother’s van the cord is always there and ready. “I don’t have one,” I explained. “Don’t need one as I don’t have a cell phone.”

Shock, horrors, dismay!

I’m feeling my age and out of touch with the times, like my van, I’m a relic from another time.